Crawford's three-pointer at overtime buzzer lifts Saint Michael's past Molloy, 52-51

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. - Sophomore Corey Crawford II's (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) three-pointer at the overtime buzzer lifted the Saint Michael's College men's basketball team past Molloy College, 52-51, on Sunday in Quealy Gymnasium. The Purple Knights, who snapped a four-game losing streak during which they lost each contest by an average of 3.3 points, moved to 3-5, while the Lions are 5-4.

Despite playing 45 minutes, Saint Michael's improved upon a scoring defense that was yielding 57.4 points per contest, good for ninth in the nation and first in the region. Sophomore James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) turned in 17 points off the bench, shooting 8-of-17 while adding eight rebounds and two blocks. First-year Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) added eight points and two blocks, sophomore Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) notched 10 rebounds, senior Derek Knutty (Rocklin, Calif./Whitney) had nine, and Crawford notched seven. The visitors held a 57-47 rebounding advantage while allowing 1-of-17 three-point shooting.

Sophomore Richard Zoller (Syosset, N.Y./Saint Peter's Boys) paced Molloy with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, and junior John Petrucelli (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) totaled 14 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

In the extra session, Grippo's steal and coast-to-coast rush gave Saint Michael's a 44-42 edge after 23 seconds before the squads exchanged six leads in the final 2:43. First-year Brandon Williams' (Baldwin, N.Y./Baldwin) triple from the corner at 1:39 gave Molloy a 48-46 edge, but Cambronne buried a three at 18.9 seconds to put the visitors back on top, 49-48. Zoller's put-back and free throw with 4.9 ticks remaining produced a 51-49 lead for the Lions, but Crawford took the inbounds pass, pushed upcourt, and pulled up from just beyond the arc on the left wing to nail the winning trey at the buzzer.

Neither team led by more than six points during the contest, with the Purple Knights grabbing 24-18 and 34-28 advantages in the second stanza, including with 11:36 remaining on a Crawford three-pointer. Zoller's jumper at 7:16 knotted the score at 36, but Knutty's ensuing bucket at 6:21 kept the visitors in front until the waning moments. Petrucelli hit the tying free throw with 36.3 seconds left, and two Saint Michael's shots in the final six seconds were off the mark.

Molloy took 18 of the first 22 shots during the opening 6:19 of the game but led only 4-1, and the Purple Knights later turned a 6-3 deficit into a six-point advantage behind an 11-2 run. Grippo hit a pair of threes in that time, with his second triple capping the stretch and producing a 14-8 score with 8:35 to go in the period. Cambronne added four points. After Saint Michael's allowed eight points in the opening 11:51, Molloy scored six points in the ensuing 1:54 to knot the game at 6:14, but Thompson netted late back-to-back hoops, and the visitors led 21-18 at the half.

The Purple Knights host Caldwell College on Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. to complete the 2012 calendar year.

The Edmundite Catholic Liberal Arts College